50 in 50: Jackie Bradley

Draft : : Top Prospects
Allan Simpson        
Published: Saturday, June 04, 2011

Jackie Bradley
OF / South Carolina

Height/Weight: 5-11/180
Hometown: Prince George, Va.
Previously Drafted: Never drafted
Birthdate: April 19, 1990

Bradley was undrafted and largely overlooked by colleges out of a Virginia high school three years ago, but had become a no-brainer first-round talent by his junior year at South Carolina before a nagging wrist injury led to a subpar 2011 season. He finally had surgery in late April to repair a damaged ligament, but was lost for the balance of the season. It’s unclear now where Bradley stands from a draft standpoint, but it appears his injury has cost him a shot at going in the first round, with the supplemental first-round a logical destination. Bradley was injury-prone throughout his career at South Carolina. He had a rib removed on his right side in the fall of his freshman year and broke the hamate bone in his right hand in spring practice, just before start of the 2010 season. Both of his previous injuries did not impact his performance for the Gamecocks as he had fine seasons as both a freshman and sophomore. Bradley was the centerpiece of South Carolina’s 2010 national-championship team. He earned Most Outstanding Player honors at the College World Series, and hit .368-13-60 on the season overall. He then excelled last summer with Team USA’s college-national team (.318-1-12), all but solidifying himself as a top selection in the 2011 draft. Despite his modest 5-foot-11, 180-pound frame, Bradley has legitimate five-tool talent. He generates good bat speed from the left side, and projects to be an above-average hitter with average power. He generally takes a big, aggressive hack and most of his home-run pop is to the pull side, but Bradley is also capable of shortening his swing, enabling him to drive balls to all fields. It’s on defense that Bradley truly excels, and he has become an elite-level center field with a strong, accurate arm. Bradley's speed grades out as slightly above-average, but he maximizes it with his superior base-running instincts and by getting excellent jumps on balls in the outfield. The defending national champion Gamecocks actually lost their two best position prospects for this year’s draft to season-ending injuries, as right fielder Adam Matthews was lost, in addition to Bradley. Matthews, the fastest player on the Gamecocks roster, was shut down after he aggravated a sore hamstring a week before Bradley’s season ended.

Projected Draft Position:
Sandwich round.

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